Only right to reimburse Orang Asli for travel, says Tanah Rata rep

Pakatan Harapan candidate M. Manogaran (left) and Tanah Rata campaign manager Chiong Yoke Kong (centre) at a press conference in Cameron Highlands January 14, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Pakatan Harapan candidate M. Manogaran (left) and Tanah Rata campaign manager Chiong Yoke Kong (centre) at a press conference in Cameron Highlands January 14, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

CAMERON HIGHLANDS, Jan 14 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) by-election campaign here is not affected by the controversy over the travel reimbursement for Orang Asli supporters on nomination day, the coalition’s Tanah Rata campaign manager Chiong Yoke Kong said.

“Only outsiders might have some bad impression and criticise us after seeing the pictures, but it did not affect our supporters or campaign,” he told Malay Mail when asked to comment on viral photos of a PH volunteer distributing cash.

The Tanah Rata assemblyman said the money was given to Orang Asli who had travelled from Koyan, Jelai, Tapah and even some from Gua Musang, which is more than a 100km ride.

“They used their own money for petrol. We have to understand that these people don’t have financial stability like most of us. So it is only right to reimburse them for petrol which they use for travel for the benefit of the party,” he said.

He also said that vouchers of the reimbursement will be submitted as election expenditure to the Election Commission immediately after the by-election.

PH was embroiled in controversy after pictures emerged on social media of a woman in a PH shirt giving out cash to other people in similar dress.

This had sparked claims from Barisan Nasional leaders that the ruling coalition was engaged in bribery in the election.

Meanwhile, Chiong said that PH will carry out door-to-door campaigning in order to explain the truth to the people here.

“We will focus on the personal touch. We believe this is the best way to reach out to the people and explain to them what really had happened.

“We know there was a lot of news on this matter and the voters will not be able to keep track of it all. We will meet them personally and talk to them. Even our veteran leader Lim Kit Siang has been meeting people personally,” he said.